A course carved from the history books, the Haute Route Ventoux explores all three sides of the legendary “Giant of Provence”. The moonscape summit has featured in the Tour de France no less than 15 times since 1951, earning its place on the bucket list of every serious cyclist. This is no ordinary mountain and this October we’ll pay homage to this giant of cycling history with a course for the ages.
Discover more about the 2021 Haute Route Ventoux - October 1-3
From the magical and mystical Giant of Provence to the picturesque host town of Bédoin and its surrounding vineyards, gorges and cols to explore, Haute Route Ventoux is set to close our European season on a high. With all three stages finishing up a different side of Mont Ventoux, the 3-day course is one you will be talking about for years to come.
Original: 114km | 3,000m+
Compact: 87km | 2,000m+
Fresh legs, a great atmosphere and a relatively flat first half means it should be a fast and fun start out of Bédoin in Stage One of Haute Route Ventoux. Whatever your pace, we recommend you work together with a group of riders to tick off some of the earlier miles and taking the time to enjoy the beauty of the Provence countryside and its quiet rolling roads.
Settle in and enjoy the ascent over the Col de Pie Blanc. At 749m, this shouldn’t cause the peloton much trouble, and instead serve as a leg opener ahead of the first ascent up the famous Mont Ventoux later in the stage.
Shortly after this climb, those opting for the Compact course will take a left turn towards Sault, whilst the Original course riders will continue past Saint Saturnin-lès-Apt before getting ready to tick off their second climb of the day. With an average gradient of seven percent, settle into a rhythm up Col de Lagarde and treat it as the real warm-up before Mont Ventoux.
Easing you in ‘gently’, the first ascent up Mont Ventoux is via the ‘easier’ Sault side. Whilst it may be the easiest in terms of gradient, with the first 16km averaging around four percent, it is the longest side to climb so make sure you pace your effort to the top. After Chalet Reynard, the Compact course riders can proudly tick off Stage One whilst the Original course riders continue to wind around the side of the mountain as the road kicks up, including a final kilometre at an average of 9.5%.
The weather at the summit of Mont Ventoux is notoriously unpredictable, with a top wind speed of 200mph recorded. If the ‘bald mountain’ spoils you with a good day then make sure you take time at the top to enjoy the view before descending back down into Bédoin to recover ahead of a long stage for day two.
Original: 153km | 3,500m+
Compact: 93km | 1,400m+
Riders once again leave Bédoin and head towards Villes-sur-Auzon where they will hug the mountain as they make their way up the breathtaking Gorges de la Nesque. A favourite for many of our Haute Route alumni, this beautiful balcony road offers breathtaking views of the wild canyon below and the impressive rock formations that surround you. At points you will spot Mont Ventoux lying in wait in the distance, offering a stark contrast in both scenery and magnitude, with the Gorges de la Nesque road treating your legs to an easy average gradient of 2.3% for 18.4km to start the day.
At the 50km mark, the Compact Riders will make a left turn and head for their first and only col of the day, Col des Aires. From Reilhanette, enjoy this 3.8-kilometre climb and at just under four percent average, this is a good chance to test your legs and push the pedals over this climb before a fun descent towards the finish line at Le Groseau.
Meanwhile, the Original Course riders have the Col d’Aulan (845m) and Col de Fontaube (655m) to tackle and whilst they may look easy on paper, two climbs coupled with the rolling country roads and a longer stage on day two could begin to take its toll. Make sure you pace it well and leave enough in the tank ahead of your second summit finish up the ‘Giant of Provence’.
As you turn out of the town of Malaucène, take time to re-fuel as you prepare for the 21km-long ascent ahead. With an average gradient of 7.5%, don’t be fooled into going too hard too early as at around the halfway point, the road kicks up to 11% for three kilometres. There is nowhere to hide on this straight section of road but grind through and look forward to upcoming relief, with the road flattening out to four percent for the following few kilometres. In true Mont Ventoux style, the final kilometres ramp up again, sticking above eight percent to test you on this famous climb that has pushed many Tour de France legends to their limit.
Original: 21.5km | 1,600m
Compact: 21.5km | 1,600m
Are you ready for your third ascent up Mont Ventoux in three days? This time, there’s a twist. The aim of the game is to go as hard as you can for this classic time trial. With a rolling start out of Bedoin, the first five kilometres should get your legs ready for the section ahead. After the hairpin bend at Saint-Estève, the average gradient kicks up to above 10% and refuses to ease up for the next five kilometres.
Whilst the road does ease off slightly towards Chalet Reynard, the Giant of Provence is not done with you yet, throwing up a tough six-kilometre section all the way to the summit finish. Cheers from the famous Haute Route speaker and your friends and family should give you an extra boost to see out one last big effort before crossing the finish line at 1,912m and receiving your Haute Route Ventoux medal. The compact riders will also be riding the same route, so it’s time to see how you stack up against the other riders, go all out, test yourself and give it all you’ve got.
Find out more about the 2021 Haute Route Ventoux at the event page.